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Sports Patriots coach Bill Belichick backs NFL's emphasis on taunting penalties: 'I think that's poor sportsmanship'

20:05  20 september  2021
20:05  20 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, fresh off of his team's 25-6 victory against the Jets, spoke out in favor of the controversial taunting penalties the NFL has been emphasizing to start the 2021 season.

"In general, I don’t really think there’s a place for taunting in the game," Belichick said Monday morning in a radio interview on WEEI Boston. "I think that’s poor sportsmanship and it leads to other things. It leads to retaliation, and then where do you draw the line? I think the whole idea of the rule is to kind of nip it in the bud and not let it get started.

Bill Belichick talking on a cell phone: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks up during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. © Vincent Carchietta, Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Spo New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks up during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

"I’m in favor of that. I think that we should go out there and compete and try to play good football and win the game on the field. I don’t think it’s about taunting and poor sportsmanship. That’s not really my idea of what good football is."

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This season, the NFL competition committee has asked officials to flag any players who gesture towards their opponents after a play has been made as a point of emphasis. This can be anything from spinning the ball after a catch, or standing up and flexing towards an opponent.

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On Sunday, several such taunting penalties were called.

In the Houston Texans-Cleveland Browns game, Texans tight end Jordan Akins was flagged for spinning the ball after he caught a first down. Los Angeles Chargers tight end Jared Cook was called for the same infraction after he hauled in a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys, but the play was nullified from a separate holding call. In the Seattle Seahawks-Tennessee Titans game, Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed flexed in the fourth quarter toward Titans receiver A.J. Brown, resulting in a penalty that came in a high-leverage situation.

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Belichick's Patriots on Sunday forced Jets rookie passer Zach Wilson into four interceptions in a 25-6 New England victory, its first of the season.

But Belichick was also asked during the radio interview about his former quarterback, Tom Brady, currently with the Buccaneers and playing on a record-setting pace.

When asked about Brady's comments about playing until he's 50 years old, Belichick said: "I’m sure Tom would know better than anybody. If anybody could do it, it’s probably him."

Brady just turned 44 before the start of the season and has thrown for an NFL-leading nine touchdown passes through two games, both Tampa Bay victories.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Patriots coach Bill Belichick backs NFL's emphasis on taunting penalties: 'I think that's poor sportsmanship'

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